|Sarah Palin speaking in Iowa on Sept 3|
This has been a difficult decision, but I firmly believe that this is the right move to advance conservatism and defeat Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in 2012. This vote is not just about a particular candidate or messenger if you will, but about an unadulterated message of sudden and relentless reform to root out crony capitalism and corruption and restore America to Constitutionally limited government and a peace through strength Reagan foreign policy.
This is a rather "unconventional" endorsement for a caucus but it is the right move at this unconventional time. It comes after taking a long hard look at the current crop of candidates:
MITT ROMNEY is currently leading polls in Iowa. This man has no core convictions about anything and a Romney candidacy will be McCain 2.0. He will destroy himself in the general election campaign as Mr. Obama will only have to play videos of his multiple positions on every major issue on an endless loop. Mr. Romney is also a member of the establishment in a time when an outsider is needed. His alleged backroom deals with folks for endorsements and help clearing the path to the nomination are troubling. His mean-spirited attacks on people like Newt Gingrich for crying about his dead mother and his temper tantrum because Bret Baier asked him questions that he didn't like don't bode well for a general election candidacy. Mitt Romney cannot be allowed to become the GOP nominee. If he does a third party candidate will emerge to appeal to the tea party and independent folks dissatisfied with his candidacy.
RON PAUL is not a serious candidate. His foreign policy is sheer folly. He blames America for virtually every ill in the world (when he can't find a way to blame Israel) and he looks upon maniacal dictators and terrorist regimes as if they were cute and cuddly little puppies. He would actually run to the LEFT of Barack Obama on foreign policy. Domestically, he's great, but then there is that whole Commander-In-Chief thing to consider.
RICK PERRY may have a good record as Texas Governor, but he's unable to coherently string together two sentences regarding policy. He's a good guy and his campaign makes fantastic commercials. He can't hide behind those commercials for the duration of the campaign, however, and he doesn't do well in debates or interviews. As a result, he's not going to win a campaign against the billion dollar Obama machine with a hostile media. He simply cannot win.
MICHELE BACHMANN also can't win. Her campaign has been a disaster. She shamelessly attacks her opponents while simultaneously doing the very thing she attacks them for (amnesty, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.) She makes up tall tales about her biography. The problem with Bachmann is that she lacks any significant record of accomplishment. She may have fought the good fight for the last 6 years but she lost every single battle. This campaign has done nothing but diminish her credibility and integrity and will likely result in her departure from congress as well. There is no way that Bachmann can mount a serious candidacy at this point. Rumors that Bachmann entered the race to clear the field for Romney have existed all year. Recent revelations where a supposed Bachmann Super PAC which spent a whopping total of $0 on her behalf was conveniently endorsing Romney and running ads on his behalf mere days before the Iowa caucus raise suspicions. Add that to the other recent revelations that she intentionally "withheld attacks" on Mitt Romney in hopes of scoring a VP slot only makes her look worse.
JON HUNTSMAN. Um, no. He served as Obama's ambassador to China. He's not a serious contender for the GOP nomination. He allegedly was a pretty conservative governor, but his past association with Obama and his intentionally positioning himself as the left-leaning candidate in the race doesn't inspire confidence. His uncanny resemblance to Don Knotts also makes it difficult to take him seriously.
After eliminating ROMNEY, PAUL, PERRY, BACHMANN and HUNTSMAN from consideration, that leaves us with the final 2 candidates: RICK SANTORUM and NEWT GINGRICH.
I certainly understand folks in Iowa who caucus for either of these candidates. They are both potentially strong candidates against Obama, but like the rest of the field they also have glaring flaws as well that may make beating Obama a nearly impossible task.
NEWT GINGRICH is the most knowledgeable and experienced man in the race. His platform is solidly conservative and refreshingly detailed. He's a bold reformer who knows how Washington works and has a strong grasp of history. His record is not solidly conservative on everything, however. Many of the attacks launched on his record are unfair and lack the context of history. For example, folks attacking him on voting for "amnesty" in the mid-1980s should know that this was part of a deal supported by President Reagan in dealing with a Democratic congress. The Democrats promised the moon and then failed to deliver after the GOP went along with the plan. Was it a mistake? Yes. But it part of the Reagan administration's attempt at compromise. Newt is much more conservative than his critics give him credit for, but there are some serious questions (like praising Romneycare as late as 2008.) Newt also has personal baggage. He's come clean and apologized for his past, but there will always be that question in the minds of voters. His polling has recently taken a major hit. He seems to be going the way of all the previous top tier folks (Perry, Bachmann, Cain) by sliding into irrelevance again. He hasn't really been able to rebuild his standing after the attacks started and still hasn't found his footing on how to appropriately respond to those attacks. He already came back from the political graveyard once this cycle. It's not impossible to think he could do it again, but his low polling suggests that Iowa is out of reach for him now. He may yet emerge as the credible alternative to Mitt Romney but Iowa is probably not where he will do it.
RICK SANTORUM seems to be the most consistent in his record. That is until he finally started surging in Iowa. The increased scrutiny is starting to bring things in his record to light and he's not as consistent as we once thought. Santorum is largely known as a social conservative. Apparently, he used to love earmarks. He also did little to slow the growth of government and his record is more in line with the big-government conservatism of George W. Bush. That doesn't make him a bad guy, but another big-government conservative is not what we need right now. We need someone willing to make the tough choices and cut the size of government. Santorum has finally surged into third place in Iowa, but ONLY in Iowa. He hasn't surged in NH or SC or nationally. It's unlikely that even with a top tier finish in Iowa Santorum could turn his number around drastically enough to win the nomination. He's a good guy, but he's also been campaigning for almost a year and has seen no movement at all in his polling numbers except for Iowa. I have serious questions as to whether Santorum could emerge as a credible candidate. He just doesn't seem to resonate with voters.
So, after evaluating the field, although I am sympathetic to Gingrich and Santorum voters and may ultimately end up endorsing one of these two for the nomination later in the primary season, I believe that voting "rogue" in Iowa is our best choice at the present time. I can't full-heartedly commit to either of these last standing candidates because of the up and down dynamic of this race. I am not confident that Gingrich can claw back up a second time and I don't know whether Santorum can handle the scrutiny that comes with top tier status or whether he can resonate outside of Iowa. And this nomination is too important to just hand over to the establishment once again. We must not let the establishment choose our nominee. We need to have a nominee that is willing to fight that establishment and not seek to curry favor with it. As a result, we need to vote rogue.
Palin's recent comments on the subject of reconsidering have left the door open. I don't believe she's actively planning to jump in, but a strong showing for the non-candidate Palin would do far more to steal the thunder from Romney's permanent political class and send shock-waves through the election cycle. Palin has commented in the past that good leaders are drafted and questioned whether the people of America really want a true unconventional and independent champion of sudden and relentless reform. A strong showing for Palin would allow her the cover and justification to enter the race if she chooses to or at least to take that new political capital to invest in another imperfect candidate like Gingrich or Santorum to hold their feet to the fire and push them toward reform. Either way, the Sarah Palin caucus would elevate the power of the tea party once more and demonstrate to the permanent political class of both parties that real independent conservative Americans desire true sudden and relentless reform and that we're not going to accept half-hearted or insincere attempts at winning our votes. Caucusing for Sarah Palin would not be wasting votes as some would suggest. It would be the strongest possible political statement that common sense Constitutional conservatives in Iowa could make. America is at a crucial tipping point. It's time for Americans to stand up and be counted.
For that reason, City on a Hill urges folks in Iowa to caucus for Sarah Palin.